Avantgarde Acoustic Trio G3 Review
Avantgarde Acoustic’s Trio flagship horn speaker has been a hallmark of the brand since its inception, with each generation-spanning approximately 15 years. To celebrate the brand’s 30th anniversary, Avantgarde Acoustic has launched the third generation of the Trio, the Trio G3.
The Trio G3 is not just an expected upgrade; it is revolutionary in its modularity, with three different versions available for users. The most basic version is the classic passive version, which users can build upon by adding the iTron active version.
The iTron version provides the Trio G3 with an expanded circuit module, enhancing the matching between the amplification circuit and the speaker while saving the need for a power amplifier.
The active version can be further upgraded with a wireless network streaming module circuit. That allows the Trio G3 to evolve into an all-in-one comprehensive audio system, expanding beyond typical high-end audio systems. With this upgrade, the Trio G3 becomes a flagship all-in-one audio system that showcases the ultimate performance, redefining people’s views on all-in-one systems.
Compared to previous generations, Avantgarde Acoustic Trio G3 features significant upgrades in drivers and crossovers. As part of a major overhaul that took 15 years to develop, the latest generation needed to pay attention to these essential elements.
Trio G3 employs the newly developed XT3 tweeter, which uses a lighter diaphragm than previous Avantgarde Acoustic models, allowing for faster response and a frequency range that easily extends to 28,000Hz. With a THD 10dB lower than the XD series and distortion rates reduced from 1% to a record-breaking 0.32%, the new tweeter represents a significant performance improvement.
The crossover network, another critical component of the loudspeaker system, has also significantly improved. Trio G3 features an all-new modular design, which allows users to customize their speakers to match their specific needs.
By offering three different versions of the G3, including a passive base version, an iTron active version, and an all-in-one wireless streaming version, the system provides flexibility and convenience that was not available in previous generations.
Additionally, the iTron version of Trio G3 includes an expanded amplifier module, which enhances the compatibility between the amplifier and the speaker itself and can eliminate the need for an external power amplifier. This new design represents a significant departure from previous models and has led to substantial improvements in sound quality.
Furthermore, the all-in-one wireless streaming version of Trio G3 represents the ultimate expression of the all-in-one concept, allowing users to transform their speaker into a full-featured sound system. This unique system can offer a top-of-the-line performance unmatched by traditional high-end audio systems, representing a significant breakthrough in the field of loudspeaker design.
As mentioned above, the newly developed Long Throw Horn profile is paired with the XT3 driver, increasing the diameter by 20mm to reach 200mm, providing a 25% increase in sound radiation diffusion area. The horn length has increased from 85mm to 176mm in one fell swoop, resulting in better response frequency regeneration capabilities.
Furthermore, excellent time-phase can be achieved in the full-frequency range, providing more dynamic, clear, and delicate sound overall.
While people tend to focus on the beauty and depth of a speaker’s highs and lows, they often overlook that 70% of human hearing comes from the mid-range frequency. Therefore, a speaker’s mid-range quality is essential to its overall sound. The Trio G3 features the newly designed XM3 mid-range driver.
Avantgarde Acoustic is unique because the mid-range driver’s diaphragm and mid-range horn have been rigorously calculated to match perfectly. The 50mm diaphragm size and the 570mm opening size of the horn’s internal curve result in energy reinforcement in the mid-range frequency range that is linear rather than compressive. This design produces a more transparent, clear sound with lower distortion and greater phase coherence.
Avantgarde Acoustic’s XM3 mid-range driver features a strontium ferrite magnet system and a unique Omega voice coil with an easily driven 27-ohm impedance. This combination results in exceptional control, precision, and authority and allows the driver to achieve an efficiency of 109dB with just 1 watt of power, all while maintaining excellent sound quality.
Trio G3’s large and seamless horn for the bass frequencies boasts an opening diameter of 950mm, a depth of 650mm, and a neck diameter of 100mm. The horn’s precision arc, accuracy, and consistency require an 8-ton steel tool and a pressure of 2,500 tons to produce.
With a 200mm diaphragm, the bass driver can deliver 109dB of sound pressure at 100Hz, which is Avantgarde Acoustic’s best result. In designing this bass driver and horn, Avantgarde Acoustic has utilized all its knowledge and experience to achieve the ultimate bass sound reproduction. The company uses the finest rare earth magnets and adds InnerCore attractions to the coil to ensure optimal performance.
Avantgarde Acoustic’s spherical horn design serves as a passive crossover, utilizing the wavelength of frequency reproduction calculations to generate longer wavelengths in lower frequency bands. By controlling the size of the horn, each driver’s true minimum frequency can be controlled, giving rise to the unique SphericLowCut frequency division technology.
Additionally, the AirGate technology can passively filter out high frequencies without using any components in the signal path.
Avantgarde Acoustic’s spherical horn design itself is a passive crossover. Through the size of the horn, the lowest frequency transmitted by each driver is controlled, which is the unique SphericLowCut crossover technology. By calculating the wavelength of frequency reproduction, longer wavelengths are generated in the lower frequency range. In addition, through AirGate technology, it is possible to passively filter high frequencies without using any components in the signal path.
However, capacitors are still needed in some cases to perform specific tasks, such as protecting the tweeter from low-frequency pulses. Without capacitors, the tweeter may be burned out. To address this, the Trio G3 uses Avantgarde Acoustic’s self-made NatureCap capacitor, which uses proper aluminum metal electrodes instead of just aluminum foil and has a dielectric made of impregnated organic oil and synthetic fibers.
The higher weight and damping reduce the impact of high-frequency vibrations, and the capacitor is 25 times larger than those used in the XA amplifier in the past.
A dedicated bracket is even made to ensure a stable connection with the circuit board. PolarisationPlus technology is added to make the capacitor not oscillate with music changes and maintain its polarity stably, allowing it to handle music changes more clearly.
Avantgarde Acoustic has introduced a new active version of the Trio G3 system, which adds an active amplification circuit to the traditional passive system. The amplification circuit adopts a modular design. Do you need to decide which version to purchase before buying the Trio G3? The answer is no. Users can purchase the passive version and then purchase the active version later. The two can be switched and used immediately, making it highly playable and satisfying two needs simultaneously.
It should be noted that besides horn speakers, Avantgarde Acoustic also has amplifier products that are designed to be the most suitable for use with horn speakers, so there is no doubt about their ability to create amplifiers.
iTron is a version of Trio G3’s amplifier circuit specifically designed to address the shortcomings of driving speaker units with voltage signals. Most amplifiers on the market today provide voltage to the speaker unit, which then causes the speakers to go through the relationship between voltage and impedance.
However, this approach often leads to distortion and signal loss because the current generated by the voltage signal can be affected by changes in impedance and working conditions, making it difficult to achieve a linear working environment.
The iTron technology was specifically developed for the Trio G3 to address the limitations of delivering the signal to the speaker unit through voltage. Most amplifiers on the market provide voltage to the speaker unit and drive the speaker through the current generated based on the relationship with impedance.
However, this is a source of distortion and loss as current changes uncontrollably due to changes in impedance and working environment, making it difficult to achieve a linear working environment. Straightforward contemporary circuit design for amplifiers also has problems, such as the inability to control the unit in its resonance frequency and the phenomenon of direct current passing through without using a crossover on passive speakers.
The final version of the Trio G3 includes a wireless network streaming module, allowing users to select digital music for the Trio G3 directly from their mobile phone or tablet. It supports various streaming services such as Tidal, Spotify, DLNA, Roon, and Airplay.
The device can be connected to the network using either an Ethernet cable or a Power-Line-Connection (PLC), which transmits network signals through the power line to the audio system, saving the need for additional network cables.
In addition, the device can be connected to standard SPDIF digital and analog inputs, making it possible to play music from a turntable. The input path will skip all digital lines and deliver an utterly analog sound. This module also includes a DAC with the latest generation Velvet Sound™ conversion chip, supporting a file sampling rate of 192kHz/24bit. The volume control is designed with an all-analog approach.
When using the Trio G3, you can also add the carefully crafted subwoofer Spacehorn, which features a newly designed 12-inch XB12 driver and has been re-engineered in terms of the cabinet and horn structure. The XB12 driver has an astonishing 153mm diameter voice coil, generating 1.15 Tesla magnetic flux density in the 480mm coil length, and the pole piece is made of a low-carbon steel plate.
The diaphragm material is a stable and torsionally rigid composite of long-fiber paper and carbon fiber. Compared to the old version, it has increased efficiency by 5dB in the 40-150Hz range, enhancing the driver’s control and reducing distortion at the same sound pressure level.
XB12 is designed with a cast aluminum SingleFrame outer frame bracket and enclosed magnet to ensure mechanical stability. Spacehorn is also an active design, equipped with a digital crossover and amplifier circuit, with each unit having a separate power supply for the amplifier circuit. Users can adjust the frequency band and set the gain through software. Spacehorn comes in two versions: one with a single XB12 unit and the other with a larger dual XB12 team. As shown in the photo, two pairs of subwoofers are used for demonstration, one with a single XB12 and the other with dual XB12 units.
Many small details are provided for users to choose from, such as the optional brass-colored sleeve structure for connecting the single driver and the metal ring embedded in the horn, which is available in standard black or optional brass. The horn can also be chosen in various colors, including multiple standard colors, unique colors that require an additional charge, and custom colors provided by users. Even the side wooden panels and bottom shock-absorbing components have different appearance options.
To match the ultimate Avantgarde Acoustic Trio G3 speakers, it’s necessary to have the best source components. The current Trio G3 version is active but doesn’t have network streaming, so a source, DAC, and preamp are required.
We have extensive listening experience with Avantgarde Acoustic, including their old all-passive versions, new active subwoofer versions, and models like Uno, Trio, and Zero, with or without additional subwoofers. The sound quality of their speakers is unique, with a very different character from what we typically hear from other conventional speakers.
In our experience, Avantgarde Acoustic’s speakers possess a comprehensive and dynamic sound signature with plenty of detail and clarity. In Munich, we were impressed with how the system sounded and how it could sound different depending on the adjustment, pairing, and playback.
The speakers’ capabilities, both with the main speakers and the subwoofers, are impressive. They can achieve a polished, sophisticated sound for more refined music and deliver an exciting and thrilling experience for more impactful tracks. That is the level of excellence and prowess that the Avantgarde Acoustic system can provide.
I listened to Allan Taylor’s “Songs for the Road,” produced by the German company Stockfisch Records. It is a well-known label among audiophiles, known for its consistent and excellent sound quality. In “Dedicated To,” the low frequencies and electric guitar provide a solid foundation, with the bass sounding relaxed and deep.
In contrast, Trio G3 and the ultra-low frequency Spacehorn sound effortless in their low-frequency reproduction. The low frequencies quietly surround the listener in space and are displayed with great detail, just like the presentation of the vocals. The overall melody, rhythm, instruments, and vocals are coordinated, natural, and effortless, just like the lyrics in the third track say, “Let the Music Flow. The listener can hear endless details and nuances in the music without needing to focus too hard..”
I am also listening to Anne-Sophie Mutter’s ‘Carmen-Fantasie.’ Her violin-playing skills need no introduction, and she has been famous for a long time. In this audiophile performance, which many have listened to more than once, the Trio G3 almost perfectly reproduces this outstanding performance.
Without going into too much detail, like the previous impression, it continuously brings new insights, even in minor details. The sound of the accompanying instruments is very natural and delicate. The energy transmitted by the horn is straightforward, especially when compared to the already well-condensed sound of the violin. The sound localization is also very clear, with excellent overall coordination after joining the orchestra.
The most important thing is that it achieves a very peaceful atmosphere throughout the space while still filling the room with music.
It is clear that the Avantgarde Acoustic Trio G3 speaker is an exceptional piece of audio equipment with a remarkable ability to reproduce sound. Its rich, deep, and effortless low-frequency response, combined with its ability to produce detailed and nuanced high-frequency sound, makes it an excellent choice for discerning audiophiles. The speaker is incredibly flexible in terms of customizations, from the color of the horn and exterior panel to the configuration of the driver array.
With an impressive record of high-quality sound reproduction, Avantgarde Acoustic has once again delivered a top-of-the-line product with the Trio G3 speaker. Overall, this speaker is an excellent investment for those who appreciate the highest audio performance and aesthetics levels.